Gender Differences in the Development of Crime and Delinquency: The Effects of Marriage on Criminal Involvement by Men and Women

Marcy Sowa, University of California - Davis

Previous research has offered evidence that a successful transition to marriage tends to reduce an individual's involvement in crime and deviance. As adolescents enter adulthood they spend less time with peers and more time at work and with spouses. This research examines intra-individual changes in the rate of criminal involvement by men and women after marriage. The results of gender disaggregated growth cuve analyses are presented. The evidence presented indicates that while men's involvement in crime decreases after marriage, women's involvement actually increases. This research introduces evidence that marriage does not serve the same function for women that it does for men. While marriage is a conventional institution, it appears to expose women to greater risk of involvement in criminal behavior.

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Updated 05/20/2006